Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What are you giving up?

Today is Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent. What is Lent you ask? It is a traditional 40 day period of fasting, praying, and penitence before Easter. I didn’t know much about Lent growing up, and the church I go to now does not observe Lent, but I am. The reason I am observing it is because:

a) I think it is good to give up something important to you sometimes. It helps you see how dependent you are on that thing and that despite that you can live without it.
b) It helps me get ready for Easter. Normally Easter just kind of sneaks up on me because it is different every year. Observing Lent helps me remember how big of a deal Easter is. It helps me remember the suffering Jesus endured. It helps me remember God’s gift to me.

Side Note: Funny story about Ash Wednesday- A few years ago I was working in Greenville and had a meeting with my boss one Wednesday. When I walked into her office, I noticed she had a black smudge on her forehead. It looked like she had wiped her forehead after getting ink from a printer on her hand. As she sat there talking to me, I could not think about anything but that smudge. I kept wondering if I should say something. Finally before I left her office I said “I think you have something on your forehead.” She responded “Is nobody in the South Catholic?!” I was so confused. She explained to me that it was Ash Wednesday. (I later found out Catholics burn the palm leaves from last year’s Palm Sunday and the priest makes a cross on their forehead with the ash.) This is still to this day the second most embarrassing moment I have had with a boss. (Maybe one day I will tell you the first.)

Last year I gave up fast food. This year I decided to give up sweets. I had it in my mind because I love sweets. It is one of my weaknesses. I had some peanut M&Ms yesterday to try to get my last sweet tooth fix. Today when I come into the office there are 3 huge apples from The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. If you had never had these heavenly things, you need to. I LOVE them. They are like caramel apples, but they have all these different flavors like Apple Pie, Butterfinger, Smores, Monster Mix, etc. They are seriously so good. I tried for about an hour to resist, but I failed. I ate a slice and decided I was not ready to give up sweets. I hate failures, but at least they always teach you something. I seriously have issues with me relationship with food and need to get that worked out.

Anyway, now I had to come up with something else to give up. I thought about giving up TV, but I have already cut back to only like 5 hours of TV a week and that was a big decrease and I didn’t want to give it up completely. I read on a blog somewhere that this guy gave up CDs and radio in his car. Just complete silence. I thought that was a good idea. I tried it out at lunch and seriously it makes a huge difference. Even just on that short trip I reached to turn up the volume on the radio after I got off the phone and then realized I had it turned off. Without that distraction, your mind has to do something. I am going to use that time to think and pray.

The only exception is I might buy an educational book on CD. As much as I love to read, I have so many fiction books on my to-read list that I never have time for the educational books. Now my driving time will be devoted to thinking, praying, and learning instead of just being wasted time.

I will also be suffering because I love music. (Part of the whole point of Lent is to remember the suffering Jesus had to endure for us.) Music gets me pumped up or calms me down depending on the song. I love listening to my favorite radio show in the mornings because they are hilarious and I get a chance to catch up on my Hollywood gossip. I am hoping missing my music will motivate me to run more because that is the only other time I get to listen to music.

Do you celebrate Lent? If so what are you giving up? If not, have you ever given up something important to you or that had become a part of your daily routine?


Aritza, Goddess of .. said...

Oh those apples are delicious !!! I tried them when I was visiting Lolita last year, when she lived in Ottawa :) Now they opened a store about 10-15 mins from my house and I can't wait to go back ! No wonder you couldn't resist..

Good luck with Lent ! I think it's admirable what you're doing :)

I don't celebrate Lent but maybe I will someday, never know..

Maureen said...

Great idea! I wrote about Lent on one of my blogs today too:

Erin Kathleen said...

YEAH!!! Another Lent follower. :o) It is a wonderful time of year...

This year I'm trying not to stress out about finances, school, work, ect. In many situations I can't control the outcome so there is no reason to get all bent out of shape. Hope it works!

Good Luck!

Melissa said...

I was Catholic growing up and always gave stuff up...but slowly I kind of realized I am probably not Catholic anymore...but I do miss celebrating Lent!

woodlandsblonde said...

I gave up diet coke! and sodas for that wouldn't be much of a sacrifice if I jsut switched!

Carolyn said...

I agree!!! I think observing Lent regardless of your religion is a great idea. That being said, I can't remember what I gave up last year... hmm. As for this year, I guess dairy? Is that cheating b /c I was planning on giving it up anywaY??